We recently launched a marketing campaign for work and while I have experienced implementing campaigns before, I realized planning one is a whole different story. I had to reverse engineer the campaigns I participated in to even figure out the keywords that I should research in order to give a structure to our campaign concept. So here’s what I came up with. At least as of writing, I think that this structure is the simplest and most raw it can get, and newbie campaign managers can easily use this as a starting point to conceptualize elaborate campaigns.
Let’s get to know the key campaign documents
Here are the main pillars of the campaign. I think what I called them here is pretty much the industry standard, but of course depending on your situation you might have to combine or divide them.
This document helps you define the scope of the campaign and give context to you and your team. This is especially helpful when you haven’t done a campaign before and you don’t have a previous campaign as a reference. Here, you give some context on the ‘why’ of this campaign; where your organization stand right now, what opportunity you see, and what problem/s you want to solve.
You can choose to have a more comprehensive strategy brief, especially if you are in a large team where getting a buy-in is more complicated, but it can also be very simple that you can skip this part completely. If it can be skipped, you can consider including all the context setting part in the Campaign Brief.
This is probably what everyone would look a lot to throughout the campaign planning process. I took a lot of time in making it as concise as possible. The main goal for the brief is that when someone who has no idea about your campaign reads this, they would understand what the campaign is about and they get the input they need to work on their part.
Basic info you need here:
- Campaign duration
- Objectives (what you want to achieve with the campaign e.g. xx sign-ups? Answering hypotheses?) and campaign KPIs (the metrics you need to monitor to say if your campaign went good or bad)
- Research questions (if any)
- Info on the target audience
- Campaign Messaging: What’s the key message and what are the supporting messages you want to always tell? Don’t worry about spending a lot of time on this one; this needs a lot of research and copywriting. Whatever you write here will always be communicated throughout the campaign.
- Marketing Activities: List of tools/methods you’re going to use, e.g. e-mail, social, paid ads etc.
- Milestones: A rough timeline of dates you expect to see certain progress in the whole campaign planning process e.g. kick-off meeting, finalizing the messaging, campaign launch etc.
- Links to other campaign documents
Just like the buyer journey or user journey, the campaign journey answers the question ‘what do the people you attract to the campaign go through?’
The journey can be a simple workflow showing that when someone sees your add, they click the ad and give their e-mail, then they get a whitepaper. You can also make it very detailed and include how you intend to follow-up, for example adding details of your automated CRM workflows.
Key Visual and Creative Assets
Having a key visual set is as useful as having a campaign messaging set. You will use this all over the campaign! Sometimes you don’t need to think about this, especially when the campaign you’re planning is not that different as the campaigns you ran before. But if it’s something very special, it is totally worth it to spend time thinking about your key visual.
In setting the key visual, knowing what creative assets you’ll eventually produce is important. Are you going to have a landing page? E-mail? Video? Ads? Knowing these, and the requirements you need to produce those, will be helpful for the designer to understand how he/she would deliver the key visual to you.
For us, we asked our designer to make illustrations for each of our campaign message and background images. This is because we know we’re going to use them in the landing page, blog cover images, presentations etc.
Activities List + RASCI Chart
When you’re starting out and the expectations of what should be done for a campaign isn’t clear yet to the team, listing down the campaign planning activities/tasks would be really helpful. You can be very detailed on this one. For each task you can include some description, target start and completion dates of each task, and a RASCI chart to have a clarity on who will be involved in the task.
I think for our case where we are just a small team, having a detailed spreadsheet of tasks and RASCI might have been a bit of an overkill. I realized that making it a simple to-do list with a list of tasks, target dates and responsible person/s would suffice.
To support our ads, landing pages and claims in any copy we write, we need to be ready with content that can explain our value proposition in detail. In the content list, you clarify your plan of content you want to produce based on your key messages. What would be the topic of the blog? Of the video? Of the webinar/whitepaper/event? You can start with simply listing down rough titles or just themes of what you want to produce, then change them into the final titles (and maybe link to them) after.
Now that you have everything set, of course you want to measure the impact of the campaign you worked hard on! In this part, you set how you plan to track the performance of your content or any marketing activity you have designed for your campaign. Also decide with the team the schedule of when you check this and implement changes necessary.